UC Blocks Way To 11th Straight Win
Hellsten matches school record for blocks
Contact: Shawn Sell
Myanna Hellsten led a UC defense that registered 23 blocks vs. Memphis on Saturday.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.---The Cincinnati Bearcats used a school-record 23 blocks to score a four-game win over Memphis on Saturday night in Conference USA volleyball action. The win was the 11th in a row for UC and keeps them in first place in the league standings, one game ahead of Louisville with two weeks of conference play remaining.
With the 23 blocks, the Bearcats bettered the previous best of 18, established on Sept. 21, 1993 vs. Eastern Kentucky. Cincinnati?s dynamic middle blocker combo of junior Rachel Torblaa and freshman Myanna Hellsten led the way with 10 blocks apiece. Hellsten also equaled Torblaa?s school-best mark of 10 block assists in a four-game match set last season against Memphis.
The victory improves the Bearcats season record to 23-2 overall and a perfect 9-0 in league play. Memphis slips to 25-4 on the year and 6-3 in league play after dropping weekend decisions to the Bearcats and No. 20 Louisville. Cincinnati dropped the first game by a 30-27 mark, but recovered to post 30-25, 30-26, 30-24 victories en route to the triumph.
Despite holding a .223 to .138 advantage in hitting percentage, the Bearcats actually trailed in the kill category by a 70-62 count. UC easily made up for that on the defensive end, as they forced Memphis into 20 more errors (41-21) than the Bearcats.
On the offensive end, Julie DuPont continued her leading of the UC offense as she tallied 17 kills, while 18 digs on the defensive end. Leslie Newell added 13 kills along with eight blocks, while Torblaa tacked on 12 kills to her block count. Maria Pongonis also registered a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Laura Lauder paced the UC offense with 49 assists, while Lindsey Garrison chipped in 19 digs.
?It wasn?t pretty, but it was a good win for us,? said Bearcat head coach Reed Sunahara. ?Our blocking kept us in it again and helped us overcome our sub par hitting. The blocking was really good all weekend and helped us to these victories.?
Memphis was led by Brittany Barnett?s match-high 18 kills. Tiara Gilkey (15 kills, 26 digs) and Nancy Nellans (14 kills, 14 digs) also scored double-doubles for the home team. The Tigers? Heather Watts had one of the evening?s best performances with a triple-double of 10 kills, 52 assists and 24 digs.
The Bearcats will now return home for the final time next weekend, hosting Houston and TCU on Friday and Saturday night. Saturday?s contest will be Senior Night at Fifth Third Arena as the Bearcats? Lauder and Ashley Grooms will be honored following the match with the Horned Frogs.